As we move into winter in the northern hemisphere, we are conscious of darkening days. As we hear as we hear of violence against women in refugee camps and war zones, as we hear of famine in Africa, as we hear of global financial stresses, we wonder if the days will ever grow brighter.
From where I sit in the offices of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) in Geneva, I am blessed to see glimmers of light flickering in the faces and in the reports of those who gather here and in other countries to seek ways to roll back the dark.
• In September, WCRC member churches from the Caribbean and North American region met in the Dominican Republic to plan initiatives in response to regional issues. A shared concern for the human rights and spiritual needs of Caribbean migrant workers emerged as a priority for joint programmes between churches in the region. A flicker of light for people often pushed to the edges!
• Earlier this month, ecumenical, NGO, and Swiss government officials gathered at the Ecumenical Centre to hear church representatives from Syria report on the impact of the unrest in the country. When WCRC’s general secretary Setri Nyomi spoke in a panel discussion, he was holding WCRC member churches in Syria in his prayers. The ecumenical movement is uniquely placed to bring together people from faith communities and secular society to share insights into the Syrian situation. A flicker of light in a troubled region!
• Next month, a Cuban theologian and parish minister will join the WCRC staff team to coordinate programmes for Justice and Partnership. Dora Arce-Valentin grew up as the only child in her Sunday School. Today the number of Cuban Christians has grown to the point that the church faces the challenge of training enough clergy and lay leaders to meet the need. A flicker of light in a changing society!
And so we see light in these actions of WCRC member churches working together to push back the dark.
The story of the hope in the birth of a baby in Bethlehem so long ago continues to light the darkness. Celebrating that story in our families and congregations brings great joy and renews us each year to face the challenges ahead.
On behalf of WCRC, I wish you a happy Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Executive Secretary – Communications